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Jewish Journal

Israeli Religiosity Choices Trending Toward Secular

by Pini Herman

October 10, 2012 | 2:24 pm

Come Hither?

Research on American Jews has demonstrated that a significant proportion have switched their Jewish denominations from their families of origin, predominantly leftward.  In Israel the same overall leftward Jewish trend is observed where a smaller, but significant, proportion of Israeli Jews shift their religiosity from that of their families of origin.

Using the Jewish religious classification of the Jerusalem Institute of Israel studies, based on Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics survey data, one-third of Israel’s Jews are religious, that is ultra- and non-ultra-Orthodox Jews. Two-thirds are non-religious or secular Jews.  Approximately a fifth of Israel’s Jewish adults identify their religiosity as different from how they were raised.  A quarter shifted from Jewish Secular practice to Religious and three-quarters of the shifters went from Jewish Religious practice  to non-Religious and Secular practice in Israel.

The Jewish ultra-Orthodox did experience growth with religiosity switchers coming from those raised non-ultra-Orthodox and Secular, but this is in the context of their relatively small overall proportion of Israel’s population.

Overall, while the Religious segments of Israeli society are enjoying greater natural increase, they are actually contributing three Jews to Secular Israel as they are receiving only one in return. To retain Religious proportional strength in Israeli society and the voting booth. It’s important that the Religious maintain their high birth rates, which among the ultra-Orthodox is showing signs of decline.

Pini Herman, PhD. has served as Asst. Research Professor at the University of Southern California Dept. of Geography,  Adjunct Lecturer at the USC School of Social Work,  Research Director at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles following Bruce Phillips, PhD. in that position (and author of the “most recent” 15 year old study of the LA Jewish population which was the third most downloaded study from Berman Jewish Policy Archives in 2011) and is a past President of the Movable Minyan a lay-lead independent congregation in the 3rd Street area. Currently he is a principal of Phillips and Herman Demographic Research. To email Pini: pini00003@gmail.com To follow Pini on Twitter:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Bruce Phillips is Professor of Sociology and Jewish Communal Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles. He has conducted Jewish population...

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